As co-host of The View, host of the Newlywed Game and a busy actress (One for the Money, Precious), Sherri Shepherd has definitely emerged as one of the hardest-working women in showbiz. Now, the 45-year old former Dancing With the Stars contestant is guesting on the hit TV Land sitcom The Soul Man.
Shepherd talked to BET.com about her upcoming guest spot and weighed in on the Jackson family drama. She also dished about whether she'd ever do DWTS again and how Malcolm-Jamal Warner helped keep her marriage plans to husband Lamar Sally mum on The View.
What was it like to guest star on The Soul Man?
I was so excited to play Boyce’s cousin — I had so much fun playing her. To get to play a character opposite my bridesmaid and one of my best friends in the world Niecy Nash was wonderful — I am so proud of her. And I’ve known Cedric [the Entertainer] since 1991, so it was like being back with family.
On the episode, you play a troublesome, sort of unwanted family member. How do you deal with them in real life?
Girl, let me tell you this, I don’t let some of them know where I live. When I go back to family reunions everybody goes, “Hey cousin! Hey Auntie!” And I’m like, “Okay I don’t know you, I have no idea who you are.” I am auntie and cousin for so many and even the ones in prison call me collect. And I’ll be like, “Which of my family members are giving you this phone number?”
That’s so funny, why do they call you?
They’re like “Hey cousin, I got a business proposition for you. I want to open up a candy store.” And I’ll be like, “You’re 45! How are you going to open up a candy store?” So girl, it’s rough but we make it through. I love my family.
Speaking of family, what’s your take on the Jackson family drama? It seems like there was definitely a generational war.
It’s so generational. We’ve always known the Jacksons but we never knew what was happening with the family. I’m just so against kids being on Twitter because they are not thinking about the ramifications of what they are saying or the emotion of how they say it. That’s why you have Paris [Jackson] apologizing for her attitude and people deleting tweets. To me that’s akin to when we were little, you did something wrong and your parents popped you upside the head. You'd say, “I’m gonna call the police!” But you didn’t.
Which Jackson family member do you feel the most sorry for in this situation?
I feel bad for the whole family, but I especially feel bad for Janet [Jackson]. Because Janet has had a public image for a long time that has been carefully maintained. So that whole tussle was horrifying to watch. I feel like Janet just wants you to know about "Black Cat" and "Pleasure Principle." She doesn’t want you knowing about her life. To see a family that you idolize take sides in different factions, brother against brother, it’s very sad. I’m really hoping they can make it through. It just feels like you’re peeking in on something you shouldn’t be peeking in on.
The cast of Dancing With the Stars All-Stars was just announced. Would you ever do the show again?
Girl, that was such a dream for me. I got voted off so early, so I didn’t get a chance to do a salsa or a team dance. But I loved dancing and I loved doing the show, so it would have hurt so badly to say no, but I would have to. I didn’t see my son the entire time I did Dancing With the Stars. The only time I saw Jeffrey was when he came to the show Monday and Tuesday nights to watch me dance. You literally rehearse six to eight hours every single day — 40 to 50 hours a week.
As a Black woman co-host of The View, did you intentionally set out to announce your marriage plans differently than Star Jones?
I kept that a secret for a whole year and as big as my mouth is, that was so hard. When I first started dating Sal, I was so excited and I wanted to tell the world. But Malcolm-Jamal Warner actually said to me, “Sherri, you really need to get your relationship strong before you allow the whole world into it. Because once the world is in it and if you don’t have a foundation up under you, it will crumble.” He wrote me like a three-page email. Malcolm played my husband on my sitcom Sherri, but when Theo writes you a three-page email and tells you that…
You obviously took his advice.
I really took that to heart, it allowed me to really let the relationship marinate. And now when I talk about Sal, we’ve got some stuff up under us. I was very conscious about discussing it on The View because the little bit I would say, people would go, “Oh, here we go again.” I didn’t want people to think I was trying to get anything. Whatever Star’s journey was — mine was very, very different and I didn’t want people comparing us.
So a year later, how’s married life?
I love my man. I’m in love with that Negro right there! We’re having sex, I’m happy; you can’t shut me up now. I love Niecy Nash for introducing us. I love the fact that Sal loves my son. Oh my God, he puts Jeffrey probably before me. The fact that Sal loves my son so much that just turns me on.
Catch Sherri Shepherd August 1 on The Soul Man on TV Land at 10 p.m./9C.
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(Photo: Enrique RC, PacificCoastNews.com)